The waning number of industry newcomers and the general shortage of skilled labour are pressing problems in the metalworking industry. AMB exhibitors have also reported unfilled traineeships and the struggle to find skilled workers. To help counteract this problem, the International Exhibition for Metalworking (AMB) – taking place this year on 13–17 September in Stuttgart – will focus on the diverse career opportunities in this industry.
“We are always in touch with our AMB exhibitors and, as Messe Stuttgart, will play our part in tackling the skilled worker shortage. For this reason, we want AMB 2022 to be a marketplace for not only innovations and products but also new metalworking talent. Our location closely connects us with an economically strong region and we would like to take advantage of this to provide school leavers and university graduates with comprehensive information about a future in the field of metalworking,” says Roland Bleinroth, President of Messe Stuttgart.
The trade fair will once again be a hub for experienced professionals – but will also offer emerging talent and start-ups a platform for further education and networking. What can AMB 2022 visitors and exhibitors expect in terms of education, traineeship and start-up opportunities?
Giving start-ups a head start
To counter the brain drain and expand into new areas, major names in mechanical engineering have long since established small, agile units or partnered with start-ups. Trumpf, DMG Mori and Siemens all model this approach, while tool-sharpening specialist Vollmer is the most recent example. On 1 July 2022, the Vollmer Group from Biberach became the majority shareholder in ultraTEC innovation GmbH, Laupheim. Since 2019, the company has been manufacturing ultrasonic deburring systems. The objective of this Swabian alliance is to advance innovation and efficiency in the metalworking industry. Matthias Rommel, Managing Director of tool manufacturer Paul Horn GmbH, also sees the current lack of fresh talent as a clear sign to equip stakeholders with more expertise.
Another highlight of this year’s AMB is the “Young innovative companies” group stand, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), where ultraTEC innovation GmbH will be presenting, among others. There is also the AMB Start-up Area, where ten start-ups from the clamping industry will present themselves over two days.
The VDMA Technology Forum, making its debut this year, is another springboard for new start-ups at AMB. With the support of the VDMA Start-up Machine, prospective entrepreneurs can use the forum to demonstrate their potential for the metalworking industry with inspiring pitches and presentations. Participants will be presenting their innovative solutions at the VDMA Technology Forum in Halle 1 from 13 to 16 September. The programme will include exciting presentations in the fields of machining, clamping technology, measurement and testing technology, digitalisation and research.
Pitch battle for the title of “AMB Start-up 2022”
This type of pitch competition offers new start-up founders an excellent opportunity to receive constructive criticism from industry experts. Alongside the Start-up Area, there will be another chance to take the spotlight on Saturday, 17 September: Start-ups will be pitching in the AMB Trend Lounge as part of an investor day. The Messe Stuttgart cooperation partners are Allianz Industrie 4.0 BW, VDMA Baden-Württemberg and the Stuttgart Region Economic Development Corporation (WRS).
After presenting themselves to AMB visitors in turn over two days, the start-ups will then have the opportunity to introduce themselves to investors in a 15-minute pitch. The start-up with the strongest pitch will be crowned the “AMB Start-up 2022”, having been selected by a jury including representatives of the exhibiting companies Gebr. Heller Maschinenfabrik, Paul Horn and INDEX-Werke.
To Vollmer, these alliances and competitions play a central role in establishing new start-ups and strengthening innovation processes in the professional world: “Our task is to develop the huge technological market potential of the process in which the start-up specialises. We also want to refine the skills of the existing team and develop the workforce further,” confirm Stefan Brand and Jürgen Hauger, CEOs of the Vollmer Group. The established companies, for their part, bring their experience in sales, service and marketing to the table.
Training opportunities for newcomers
As well as start-ups, newcomers to the metalworking industry can also benefit from the numerous training programmes offered by AMB exhibitors. Hainbuch, for example, expanded its curriculum with additional online courses during the pandemic. The company has offered a virtual one-week internship since last year, which can be completed almost entirely in digital format. Team building events such as go-karting ensure that students and interns have fun alongside learning. In May 2022, Hainbuch participated in the “Career Kick” careers fair. They connected with schoolchildren in a playful way over table football. This is an innovative way to find apprentices.
Other exhibitors are also proud of their extensive training programmes. For example, Knoll and GROB are currently training more than 100 aspiring professionals across various apprenticeships and dual study programmes. At Knoll, new professionals benefit from practical experience, modern workplaces, a large training workshop, events and trips. The programme at GROB includes student work placements, internships and thesis work. GROB also provides needs-based further training for existing employees. An annual internal training programme that incorporates in-person and online training on a wide range of topics is also part of the offering, as well as specialist and external training. Machine tool manufacturer WFL Millturn Technologies intensively trains new engineers in mechatronics, CNC machining, electronics and other specialist fields, with the programme lasting a total of four and a half years.
Special Show for Young People: career prospects at a glance
With a multitude of exhibitors offering a vast array of vocational and training opportunities, finding the right option can be overwhelming for newcomers. To make things easier, AMB is combining all this information into one event: The “Special Show for Young People”, organised by the German Mechanical Engineering Young Talent Foundation (Nachwuchsstiftung Maschinenbau), is aimed at career starters and anyone considering working in the industry. Aspiring professionals will be able to learn about the diverse career opportunities and interesting job profiles that the mechanical engineering sector has to offer.
Since 2008, the Special Show for Young People has maintained its strong commitment to the next generation, returning to its location at the heart of the Messe Stuttgart exhibition grounds every time. From 13 to 17 September, the special show will focus on career prospects and training and study opportunities in the industry. As well as career guidance and experience opportunities, which be on offer in the Atrium (Entrance East), there will also be exhibitions and exciting hands-on activities. It should be a valuable space for companies and visitors alike to connect.
In addition to the Special Show for Young People, WorldSkills Germany will also be back in the Atrium. Together with the WorldSkills Germany network, AMB will be used to provide a national benchmark in various disciplines, final training sessions and dress rehearsals for the world championships. Competitions will take place in the fields of CNC turning, CNC milling, additive manufacturing and CAD.
Mobilising research and development
While many large companies offer traineeships or support start-ups, some collaborate with universities in joint research projects. A prime example of such is Gühring KG. Gühring does this through a research project in which the company is establishing and developing a knowledge archive with the help of the Gühring Tool Management Software (GTMS). This project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the “Future of value creation – research on production, service and work” programme and is managed by Projektträger Karlsruhe (PTKA).
On the road to future-oriented metalworking
Full speed ahead into the future: AMB Stuttgart 2022 aims to facilitate dialogue between future and current metalworkers. In addition to showcasing a diverse range of career prospects, the trade fair aims to offer a shared platform for discovering ideas and networking. Furthermore, exhibitors will have the opportunity to recruit potential apprentices or trainees – in doing so stemming the shortage of skilled candidates in the metalworking industry.